Sunderland 0 QPR 3 – Frayed tempers in last game

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A SURFEIT of red and white and heavy rain before the kick-off, as there was in London on Saturday, provided a Wembley atmosphere for Sunderland’s last League game of the season against newly-promoted Queen’s Park Rangers at Roker Park tonight.

The rain failed to dampen the fans’ spirits and there were more than 40,000 present 20 minutes before the kick-off to see Manager Bob Stokoe receive a giant bottle of whisky for being voted the Second Division’s Manager of the Month for April.

Immediately afterwards skipper Bobby Kerr was presented with the giant killer cup, which was given to the club for keeps by a Sunday newspaper.

As at Wembley, the teams, both track-suited, walked out side by side, but Bob Stokoe added a novel touch by carrying a miner’s safety lamp.

Bobby Kerr carried the F.A. Cup to the centre of the field and Wembley goal-scorer Ian Porterfield was easily recognised as he wore a red and white boater.

There was yet another presentation to Sunderland in the centre circle when the visitors presented a silver tray in recognition of their success on Saturday.

When the match started with Sunderland attacking the packed Fulwell End, the F.A. Cup was placed between the trainers’ boxes in front of the main stand.

Sunderland were awarded a free-kick in the opening minutes by Clement. The Roker skipper when Kerr was brought down took the kick himself and although Watson managed to reach the flighted ball and head for goal a defender cleared.

Porterfield sent Tueart clear with a great pass but there was no Sunderland player able to reach his low centre and Manchester pushed the ball back to Parkes.

There was another free-kick for Sunderland in the seventh minute and although Poterfield’s kick reached the goal-mouth, Tueart, Halom and Hughes all failed to make contact and the ball ran behind for a goal-kick,

Bowles fired an angled drive over the top from about 12 yards in Rangers’ most dangerous break so far.

Sunderland almost went ahead in the 12th minute when a hard-hit through-ball from Tueart was apparently handled by Q.P.R.’s Ian Watson. However, there was no penalty award, and the ball ran to Hughes, who sent in a fierce angled drive which Parkes only just managed to scramble round the post. Kerr took the corner-kick but this was cleared without difficulty.

Montgomery easily saved a Bowles header following a free-kick from Venables and then in the 18th minute Givens headed just wide from a fine cross by Thomas.

Halom on the right ran on to a good ball from Kerr but his excellent centre was cleared by Clement.

Sunderland continued to do most of the pressing and Halom in a tight situation at the by-line, did well to pull the ball back for Tueart in the middle, but instead of trying a shot the No. 11 attempted to tee the ball up for Watson and a defender cleared.

The crowd were not having a great deal to shout about, but in the 28th minute there was a lighter moment when a hasty clearance by Hazell knocked the F.A. Cup of its table beside the pitch.

In the 32nd minute Francis, of Q.P.R. was booked for kicking Bobby Kerr and shortly afterwards when Malone fouled Bowles near the halfway line, the referee called both captains together to try to get tempers cooled down.

Parkes cut out a dangerous Malone cross in fine style, but a free-kick was awarded because of alleged pushing by Halom.

Clement conceded a corner five minutes from the interval following a dangerous centre by Kerr, and when the flag-kick was cleared to Horswill, the Sunderland No. 4 shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.

Three minutes from half-time Kerr ran on to a great cross-field pass from Porterfield and sent it for Hughes, but his header travelled straight at Parkes, who saved easily.

Sunderland’s last chance of a first-half goal disappeared when a Tueart corner in injury time was fisted out by Parkes.

The F.A. Cup taken from its touch-lone pedestal at half-time did not reappear after the internal and in view of what had happened earlier perhaps that was not surprising.

Halom went close two minutes after the restart when an attempted clearance rebounded off him and flashed just past the post in a goalmouth scramble.

The centre forward had a great chance to put Sunderland ahead in the 50th minute when he was put clear by Hughes, but with only Parkes to beat, he lobbed the ball over the bar from about 15 yards.

Sunderland went even closer a minute later when Halom flicked on a Hughes pass for Tueart to send in a tremendous first-time volley which was just inches over the bar.

Dave Watson conceded a second corner when Thomas’s kick came over and this time Mancini sent in a header, but Montgomery saved clearly.

Porterfield was just off target with a long-range effort then in the 62nd minute Parkes made a great save to stop a powerful header from Hughes from point-blank range as Sunderland began to get on top.

Then the ‘keeper made another brilliant save but this time from a Kerr pile-driver.

In the 65th minute it was the visitors who claimed a shock lead when Givens broke on the right and hammered a low cross into the middle for THOMAS to fire home through a crowded goalmouth.

There was a sensation in the 67th minute when Bowles fouled Horswill near the half-way line but before the free-kick could be awarded to Sunderland, Horswill struck the player on the neck. Referee Reaves promptly got his book out and to the astonishment of the crowd sent Horswill off.

A free-kick was awarded to Sunderland, but the first of some incredible scenes occurred when a youth from the Fulwell End of the ground attempted to strike the referee. He was shepherded off into the crowd by Billy Hughes.

The crowd, already incensed by some strange decisions by the referee, reached boiling point in the 73rd minute when Guthrie was booked for a foul on Venables and several more youths invaded the pitch and attempted to strike the referee.

Eventually Bob Stokoe got out of the dug-out and signalled his players off the pitch and they were quickly followed by the visitors team.

A senior police official appealed for calm, but it took an appearance by the Sunderland manager on the middle of the field to calm things down.

Mr Stokoe walked out onto the centre circle with a microphone and appealed for calm. He said: “Let’s not spoil one of the best seasons the club has had for many years. We have had a good run and we learned to win. Let us learn to lose. If we have to lose let us do it in the football tradition. Let us get this game finished and come back next season and start again.”

The teams returned after an eight-minute hold-up and when the referee re-appeared he had a police escort.

What had started as a night of celebration turned into a night of unsavoury scenes, and Sunderland’s unhappiness was completed in the 75th and 77th minute when BOWLES added two more goals to put QPR 3–0 ahead.

Bowles’s first goal came when he beat Guthrie and Watson and pushed the ball in, and his second came after Thomas robbed Malone and sent it to the former Carlisle player, who netted from close range.

SUNDERLAND–Montgomery, Malone, Guthrie, Horswill, Watson, Pitt, Kerr, Hughes, Halom, Porterfield, Tueart. Sub. Young.

QUEEN’S PARK RANGERS–Parkes, Clement, I Watson, Venables, Mancini, Hazell, Thomas, Francis, Leach, Bowles, Givens. Sub. Delve.

Referee: Mr T G Reaves of Leicester.

Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on May 9, 1973.